Saturday, July 20, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on September 12th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 28 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 28

Veterans deserve better

By Chris Brooks, retired sergeant, U.S. Army - Vandenberg Village

The late Sen. John McCain will be remembered for his integrity, most notably demonstrated by his penchant for straight talk. There was a great irony locally when Bruce Porter wrote a column in the Sept. 2 Santa Barbara News-Press, simultaneously praising Sen. McCain's integrity while contorting the truth and assailing 3rd District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann for something that never happened. If one is to use John McCain's legacy as a comparison, facts matter.

Mr. Porter falsely asserts that Ms. Hartmann kicked county veterans department caseworkers out of their office space at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria. Facts reveal that when another county supervisor (who served years prior to Ms. Hartmann's election) renovated his office at Betteravia, he encroached on the available space used by veterans' caseworkers, leaving them with a less than 200-square-foot single office to use.

Of the county's three veterans department offices (located in Lompoc, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria), the Santa Maria office has the biggest constituent caseload, yet they had the smallest office space. Many veterans have unique needs, like physical disabilities, and some suffer the effects of PTSD. Therefore, the caseworkers desire easily accessible and private office space to meet their needs. Knowing this, upon her election to office, Ms. Hartmann strongly encouraged county General Services to find a more suitable space for our veterans department in Santa Maria. As a result, they relocated from their small single office at Betteravia, which often has parking challenges, to a nearly 1,200-square-foot county-owned facility off Foster Road. 

The new facility has private offices for discreet case management, ample parking, and above the required amount of ADA parking spaces, all to the benefit of our local veterans. Unlike Mr. Porter, who seems to be in campaign mode a bit early, I applaud Supervisor Hartmann for her leadership in better serving the needs of our veterans.

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the changes Santa Barbara County made to its cannabis ordinances?

It was too early to make any changes. The industry is still new.
The changes were necessary. Cannabis farms are ruining our quality of life.
The changes are too restrictive and could stifle a growing industry.
More changes are needed to address the odor problems and other issues.

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